Business & Industry
Jul 1, 2015
SOL, an Angolan story of success in African banking
Banco SOL is a private Angolan bank, with 14 years of activity, based in Luanda, the capital of the Republic of Angola, in southwest Africa, with an extensive shore to the Atlantic Ocean. SOL, "sun" in English, has 167 branches and agencies and own funds of about USD$171 million (€104 million), mainly generated by retained profits that are allowing a constant organic growth and a solid position among Angolan banks.
SOL is nowadays a leading bank in Angola and is starting its expansion to enter into other neighbor countries in the Southern Africa region, a Development Community that gathers 14 nations, from South Africa in the south to the Democratic Republic of Congo in the north.
Being an independent country since 1975 and after three decades of internal conflicts that provoked substantial damages and social harm, Angola, with 24 million inhabitants has now a GDP above 175 billion dollars (in power purchase parity) and exports about 1,8 million barrels of crude oil per day. In the last 10 years, Angola has been among the fast growing emerging economies, enjoying a stable political and social environment and a better human development level and has attracted a stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) that has reached more than 17 billion dollars.
Along the next decades, Africa will continue to be one of the Continents with higher economical and human growing rate, improving standards of living of more than one billion people living in Africa, of which 400 million lives in cities, being growing urbanization one essential feature of the future in Africa.
In Angola, the banking sector has played an essential role in promoting the social and economic development of the country along the last 20 years. There are already more than 20 banks and generally the banking sector has enjoyed a significant evolution in the quality of services provided, according to the best practices and international standards. BNA, the Central Bank, has increased the use of international standard supervisory mechanisms to assure the maintenance or even an increase in the focus of financial institutions on quality and on its own long term sustainability.
Banco SOL is a case of success in banking in Africa, serving already more than 600,000 clients that keep more than 2,4 billion dollars in deposits. On the other hand, SOL has followed a very prudent credit policy in Angola, avoiding the risk of deterioration of the solvency and profitability, reaching very solid levels by any standard.
For those investors searching for new business opportunities in Africa, Angola is one of the countries with better conditions for attracting FDI. The national development policy followed nowadays in Angola is oriented to the reduction of the very high weight of the oil and gas sector, by supporting an aggressive policy of diversification of the economy, as a critical objective of the Authorities and Angolan entrepreneurs. The major role of the Government is to invest in building new and modern infrastructures, as roads, railways, social housing, energy, water and sewage, etc., supported by several lines of credit from more friendly countries, but the Government expects the private sector and the foreign investment to play an important role in the diversification of the economy, by creating new companies and more jobs.
Banks operating in Angola are playing a key role financing the private sector and the Government is supporting then through a special program named "Angola Investe", mainly directed to the development and investment of medium and small companies in many sectors, from agriculture, industry, tourism and other sectors. It is also important to mention that urban development and real estate are also attracting investment in many cities, especially in the capital, changing the feature of Luanda, one of the oldest towns in Africa with more than four centuries where more than 6 million people lives. Banco SOL is one of the banks that is recognized as a good partner by many governmental and non-governmental institutions and also by several multinationals operating in Angola, either for lending microfinance to small entrepreneurs or for trade and project finance.
Coutinho Nobre Miguel, the CEO, has stated that Banco SOL intends to maintain its commitment to the development of businesses in Angola and in neighbor countries where it will establish, being open to work with new partners particularly interested in following the development trends of those countries in Africa.